Staining a saya

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cwillett
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Staining a saya

Post by cwillett » Tue May 15, 2018 11:56 pm

My mother(s)-in-law have really been great to us and I want to gift one of them a Takamura Chromax 210 gyuto to get her out of Wustof-land. I'd like to get a saya with it, but the light colored wood just doesn't look very good. There is a medium walnut for $10 more, but I think I'd like to stain the lighter saya to a very rich color close to the handle color. On the product page it doesn't list what the wood is (or I missed it). Anyone know? Stainability?

Carter
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by Carter » Wed May 16, 2018 9:49 am

I stained one of the generic sayas about 5-6 years ago....worked fine. I guess the wood is poplar or something similar. I used a few coats of a Minwax stain and topcoated with a several coats of poly.

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Kit Craft
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by Kit Craft » Wed May 16, 2018 10:08 am

Yeah, pretty sure it was said that they are poplar. I've never stained one so much as I simply just oil them. They get darker over time. But then I find that I don't use them anyway...lol.

Kalaeb
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by Kalaeb » Wed May 16, 2018 10:18 am

Should be no issues staining it. My kids like to draw on them with markers and they hold marker just fine, lol. I would do a quick sand, stain, then seal.

shevitz
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by shevitz » Wed May 16, 2018 10:59 am

I did exactly this a couple months ago. My handle was a different color. I used Minwax gel stain brazillian rosewood. It turned out really nicely. the wood got much darker. Gels stains are easier to use and more forgiving in general. No need to seal before staining.
Anyway I had good luck. I wanted something that ended up reddish brown which is like what you have I believe. You can control the darkness with the number of coats. I did a few because I wanted very dark. From a distance you can't tell it's not rosewood. Up close, the grain is wrong but it is a poplar saya after all.

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STPepper9
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by STPepper9 » Wed May 16, 2018 11:43 am

I’ve stained a few of those sayas and I haven’t had any issues.

Here’s a link that shows some I did a while back.
https://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/som ... 12261.html

Drewski
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Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: Staining a saya

Post by Drewski » Wed May 16, 2018 12:16 pm

I have actually done this several times. A few suggestions:

1. Oil the knife handle before deciding on the stain. I've had a perfect match between the handle and saya and then oiled the handle, darkening it.

2. If possible, use a water based stain. I've used oil based as well, but they take longer to dry and are less safe for food applications (or so I've been told, not sure if that actually matters)

3. After deciding on a stain, test it on some wood of a similar type to the saya. Just some scrap wood is fine. Test how 1, 2, 3, and maybe even 4 coats look on the wood. I've bought stain that I thought looked like a perfect match and then after testing it, realized that I had the wrong tint. Also, the number of times you stain the wood can make a big difference on the darkness of the stain.

3. Use a rag or foam brush to apply the stain to the saya. Watch for drip marks around the edges. I've hung mine to dry using a wire coat hanger through the pin hole. This allows both sides to be stained at the same time. If there's no rush, you could just do one side then the other.

4. After letting the final coat of stain dry for a day, on to the clear coat to protect it and give it a beautiful finish. I only use water based finishes (some say acrylic polyurethane, some don't, not sure if all water based finishes aren't the same). This is for food related reasons and the water based finishes reportedly don't yellow over time. I've also found that a satin finish is still glossier than my Schroeder custom wood handles. A semi gloss finish could be used if you really want a shine.

5. I've used a foam brush to apply finish. A rag might be fine too. After applying each coat of finish and drying, lightly sand the saya with 240 grit sandpaper. This gets rid of any bubbles (which should be initially avoided if possible) or streaks. This will leave the saya looking scratched up but this is ok. Also, be very gentle with the sandpaper, it's easy to go through the finish and remove the stain. I usually just use a light wiping motion in one direction when I'm doing this. Wipe off the dust with a moist rag, then let dry for a bit before applying the next coat of finish. I typically apply 3-4 coats of finish to get it as smooth as I want. The final coat isn't sanded.

Apologies if this was TMI
Good luck!

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Jeff B
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by Jeff B » Wed May 16, 2018 12:57 pm

Stain it, draw some Kanji(or fake it on it :D ) and then seal it.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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STPepper9
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by STPepper9 » Wed May 16, 2018 3:00 pm

Image
Image
Image

Here's a konosuke saya.. Torched then stained with a light gold type of color, finished with semigloss polyurethane.

delmar
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by delmar » Wed May 16, 2018 5:39 pm

If you don't seal it with something, you'll be re-finishing down the road.

Drewski
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by Drewski » Thu May 17, 2018 11:15 pm

STPepper9 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 3:00 pm

Here's a konosuke saya.. Torched then stained with a light gold type of color, finished with semigloss polyurethane.
Love that!

Drewski
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Re: Staining a saya

Post by Drewski » Thu May 17, 2018 11:24 pm

I've also ebonized a poplar saya. You soak steel wool in vinegar for several days to make iron acetate which reacts with tannins in wood, turning them black. With harder, darker woods it will turn them totally black, which was the effect I was hoping for. However, even after soaking very strong tea (full of tannins) into the saya and treating with iron acetate many times, I could only get to a medium grey shade. Turned out to match the handle nicely though. Since the picture I've finished it with a satin polyurethane.
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